Thursday was World Left-handers’ Day and southpaw Shikhar Dhawan celebrated that in superb fashion, battling a right palm injury suffered a day before to crack a brilliant century that has put India in a commanding position against Sri Lanka in the opening Test here.
The best part about the century was Dhawan’s willingness to cut out his natural flamboyance, showing a new-found maturity to hang in there and grind it out patiently, reaching the three-figure mark off 178 balls.
“I don’t think it was hard for me to cut down my game,” said the 29-year-old at the post-match press conference. “I enjoy playing like this also sometimes and I was enjoying leaving the ball. The team needed that kind of batting and that’s what I delivered for my team.”
“If there was a ball to hit I would have. This time because of the bruise on my hand it affected my play a little bit. And I played a bit slowly because I couldn’t generate the power that I do usually. And as I said, the situation demanded that we play with caution.”
Murali Vijay, who was ruled out of the first Test with a right hamstring injury, is the lone batsman from the touring party who has played a Test match in the island nation. When asked if special plans were made to counter the unfamiliar conditions, Dhawan said quite a bit of work went into it.
“When we arrived here we played that practice game so that’s how we got used to the conditions over here. And then we practiced sweeps and stepping out and as it is a turning track we have to make sure that we don’t let the bowler bowl on the same line and length. That’s what the wicket demands here. We see the wicket and then we decide what shots we are going to play.”
Dhawan said batting with his Delhi mate Virat Kohli, an equally attacking batsmen, made things a lot easier for him. “It’s a great feeling to bat with Virat. He is one of the best batsmen in the world and you feel at ease when such kind of a batsman comes in. You know that he is taking control of everything, and even Virat is aggressive, so runs keep coming.”